Continuing on from my previous blog post about Kizzy, my rescue dog. Kizzy arrived home from the rescue kennels, smelly and unsure, but settled in quickly.
From day one of having Kizzy, I decided that although we would have rules and boundaries, some of the usual behaviours that I wouldn’t accept we were going to overlook. The main one of these being jumping up at me. The reason I decided not to pesevere with training out this behaviour was that Kizzy’s main reason for jumping up was for reassurance hugs. Having come from a highly under-socialised background, she had no concept of normal everyday objects and so she needed lots of calming down. She still jumps up at me for reassurance now (2 1/2 years later!) but doesn’t tend to jump up at other people unless they encourage it.
I tried to make all our walks interesting and actively encouraged her to walk on logs, jump over things and do her training in an outdoor environment. However, my main issue was the level of her reactivity. When she first arrived, she would bark, snarl and lunge at everyone and every dog she saw out and about, from about a 30-40m distance. We have progressed this now to her coping most of the time if other dogs are on lead and I give her at least 5m of space from both people and dogs, but we still have huge reactivity issues around off-lead dogs. It’s an issue that I doubt will ever be fully erased as her behavioural traits are rooted so deeply.
Kizzy does however enjoy spending time with all of my clients dogs as she has been introduced to them from the first day she arrived. Most of them she has then grown up with, so she will play with them and is happy inside a house with them too (see Ellie and Kizzy snoozing time above!) All of Kizzy’s friends have helped with her training enormously!